Fruits, vegetables, and a slice of the family farm

It has been gray and wet the past days, just like a nice summer day in London. A passing storm intensifies the monsoon and the sun has not appeared for awhile. The plants at our family farm do not seem to mind. At least, the ones that were not bowled over by the winds.

The corn seems to be doing well despite some damaged patches . I imagine there will be a harvest in a couple of months. It is nice to see this crop thrive here. We tried to grow them last year on the tiny house plot but the rain decimated them all.

We also have lots of chili, green and red, a promise of delicious things to come, plus the start of cucumbers and green leafy vegetables. Surprisingly, there are still tomatoes, probably the last of the season.

And lemons! This is our first time planting these and the trees we have are so generous. It cannot even support itself from all the fruits! We were told the variety will remain green until they ripen. I honestly don’t know how to tell when they are ready.

Finally, we have cotton fruit. Locally, it is known as santol. Have you ever heard of it? We have several old trees and the ground is carpeted with its yellow, fragrant, and citrusy fruits. We have so much more than we could possibly hope to eat and do not know enough people that can take the crates.

Nature is awesome.

Practical yoga lessons that go beyond the mat

In October, Markus and I would be yoga teachers for three years. Isn’t that cool? Since the pandemic started, there have been no yoga retreats for us but we cultivate the practice at home and continue to learn more about life through it. Today, I thought I would share a few useful lessons on the mat that easily translate to more wellness off the mat.

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All the positivity you sent is working

Thank you, Janis!

I am feeling a lot better these past two weeks. I can finish my sentences without pause and walk without running out of breath. Doing nothing, relaxing the mind, and all your well-wishes helped a lot. And the medications, of course.

Thank you very much for your thoughtfulness. You were all so kind. It was overwhelming. I did not expect that. And the tiny house mail I received from Janis was the loveliest surprise. Many thanks! Much appreciated. I loved it and it made me feel cared for. Blog friends are the best. How can one not get better?

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Lately, I’m obsessed with

I turn to food when I am happy, sad, relaxed, hormonal, stressed, tired, and so on. Food is good. I do not need to be hungry to eat. It is not the healthiest attitude in the world but it is sure one I believe in.

This love of food I inherited from my mother, who is an incredible homecook with a stomach that knows no floor or ceiling. For better or worse. Following are food that I have been obsessing over lately. Consider this your munchies trigger warning!

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I want to relax but plastic gives me anxiety

Our eating area.

I watch a couple of cafe vlogs on YouTube for relaxation. One is focused on making hot and cold coffee drinks while the other features gorgeous bread and sandwiches.

The preparation of all these nice food entertain me – the sounds, colors, ingredients, and attention to detail are inspiring – but there is one aspect to this process that digs at my soul every time: the prolific use of plastic.

Container upon container, order upon order, it is one plastic on top of another plastic that is on top of one more plastic (Don’t click the links, Michelle. I worry it will give you angina).

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Disease, dis-ease, di-seased

Let me close June by saying it decisively won over me: my lung situation has gotten so bad I am taking medications I have not needed in years, I am at record weight, and a dread is constantly gripping at me as I fear the return of my really dark times from a lifetime ago.

I am scared, swollen from scalp to toe, literally shaking, and working for every breath. I cannot walk from my bed to the toilet without toil and I talk. like. this. to catch. my breath. Always tired. In pain even when I am just sat.

I am lucky I have the best healthcare available to me from home. If I go to the hospital, I would immediately be sent to isolation to rule out COVID-19. But this predates the pandemic and it will inherit my body in a post-COVID world.

It hurts to be in this situation, physically and spiritually. Every day is a reminder of how I failed to take care of myself, how I failed to protect myself. It is really hard sometimes because I can only control so much. Despite my best efforts, stress has reached my shores, if not unfairly, and here I am burning like Troy.

The problem is I do not recover quickly – I never have. The top pulmonologist in the region has looked after me for over a decade and she still hates me today because “I cannot make you well.” This, even after the best management and a solar system of medications. I guess it is just me.

Of course, life goes on. I am decisively but not completely defeated. I allow myself this small space to explore my negative feelings but no more. At least for today. I will continue to be hopeful and more important, learn from this experience.

The sun will shine tomorrow and there will be more cups of tea. I will probably not be okay, but even that, too, is okay. Someone grind a grilled dead lizard into powder. Maybe that does it.

In between the pages, our lives

Books and masala chai is heaven

This year’s resolution has definitely rekindled my entombed fascination with books and I can only be grateful.

Every day, I hold books close to me, savor a few pages, and make new connections or rediscover old ones – very helpful for a fuzzy, heavily medicated brain of late.

Of course, this is far from my supercharged reading from way back when, but it gives me joy to return to the book lover side of the fence. Isn’t it wild how books are just always there, ready to take us back no matter how long we put them down?

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How to live a holiday life, or better yet, how to create a life you love

A French friend of mine regularly threatens to block me on Instagram because my posts of what he calls our “holiday life” frustrate him. He wants to live by the beach and be surrounded by nature, too. But he cannot because he has to live in Hong Kong and work for a living. 

I do not think I am on a permanent holiday – my back certainly disagrees after working in the garden for a full day – but I am happy to live an intentional life, one that is far slower and softer than most lives. One time, I told Markus our days resemble that of retirees: no rush, no schedule, no pressure. Are we not the luckiest?

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All about my hoyas

Yes, just bring your hoyas inside, thank you.

Hoyas invited themselves into my life. I was not particularly drawn to them but the generous people around me are. I often receive propagations or cuttings as presents. Plants are plants and I will grow them all.

I just realized I have a good amount of them now when I noticed my fastest growing plants of the moment – hoyas! 

These plants are ideal for beginners, at least the common varieties, since they do not need watering every day and readily available.

Most have waxy leaves and you only water them when the leaves feel papery or thin. Overwater them and they will quickly decline! The only other requirement is plenty of bright, indirect light and your hoyas will thrive. Here are some that I am enjoying now:

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A fun Q&A to cure all ills

Taking it easy

Along with gray skies and rain, June brought plenty of stress to our tiny house life, so much so that my respiratory problem flared up and I was chugging medications again. I swear, stress will be the death of me.

This is why I put all my effort in designing a life that I love. Then again, we can only control ourselves and never others – there are always ways for us to be dragged in messes we did not create. Fortunately, things seemed to have calmed down and while I remain tired, I am now focused on recovering.

How about an easy Q&A for today’s post? This is inspired by my blogfriend Janis and the questions are from here. Let me know what some of your answers are, too!

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